When FOUR PAWS began its work in the Ukraine in 2012, the abuse of bears in dog fights was still legal. Although the cruel practice of bear-baiting was legally banned in 2015 thanks to campaigning by FOUR PAWS and local animal rights activists, an estimated 12 to 18 bears still live on hunting stations and are exposed to the danger of being used as fighting bears to train hounds.
In the framework of the #savethesaddestbears campaign, FOUR PAWS has set itself the task of bringing an end to the abuse of bears for dog fights and the keeping of bears on hunting stations by 2020.
FOUR PAWS has successfully rescued two female brown bears on 29th October in Ukraine and transferred them to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr near Lviv. Dasha and Lelya were previously kept as a tourist attraction at a hotel and restaurant in Skole.
Former fighting bear Laska is successfully transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr on Febrary 28th. For years Laska lived in intolerable conditions in the run-down Pokrovsk Zoo close to the city of Donetsk. We were able to verify she was previously kept as a fighting bear and abused for training hunting dogs.
FOUR PAWS transfers the management of BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya to the local NGO 'Save Wild Fund.' All bears rescued by FOUR PAWS were transferred to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in 2017 and 2018.
FOUR PAWS rescues fighting bear Kvitka.
FOUR PAWS demands the prohibition of bears on hunting stations and submits 104,313 signatures to the Ukrainian government.
Tyson is the first fighting bear to move into BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.
FOUR PAWS rescues 'restaurant bear' Potap, who becomes BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr's first resident.
Construction work begins on BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.
Together with other local NGOs, FOUR PAWS succeeds in obtaining a nationwide ban on the use of bears to fight dogs. However, keeping bears on hunting stations remains legal.
FOUR PAWS signs a cooperation agreement with the Lviv regional administration with the goal of constructing a bigger bear sanctuary in Western Ukraine. BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya no longer has capacity to admit new bears.
FOUR PAWS rescues Masha, the first fighting bear, and brings her to BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya.
FOUR PAWS builds BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Nadiya close to the city of Zhytomyr (and houses two bear cubs there saved from the illegal wildlife trade).